According to The Asahi Shimbun, leading agricultural machinery maker Kubota Corp. is planning to get its hands dirty and harvest more technical know-how on cultivating crops, to boost the sales of its farming machinery and the quality of customer service.
Kubota will set up an additional 11 directly managed farms across Japan for hands-on research on the kind of equipment its customers need, to help resuscitate the nation's agricultural industry.
While Kubota currently operates four farms throughout Japan, it plans to raise the number to 15 within five years, as the scale of agriculture changes after the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade pact was agreed to by member nations.
Kubota currently operates a farm in Yabu, Hyogo Prefecture, which has been designated a National Strategic Special Zone for agriculture, in addition to Niigata and elsewhere.
Last year, Kubota released its “Kubota Farm” strategy, which states the company will expand its number of directly managed farms across the country.
Kubota has begun preparations for new farming facilities in Fukushima, Toyama, Aichi, Kagawa and Okinawa prefectures. It will grow different crops in various ways at each of its farms, which are planned to cover around 1,000 hectares of area in total.
Kubota will not only cultivate crops but produce processed foods from agricultural products.
On 3rd March, Nakakyusyu-Kubota Corp., a Kubota group firm, unveiled its recently installed brown rice paste plant in Kumamoto Prefecture to the media. The new factory will mash 100 tons of brown rice annually to make paste and sell it to bakeries and other parties.
Kubota is considering setting up a similar processing facility in Niigata Prefecture as well.
According to the 2015 Census of Agriculture and Forestry, 1.77 million people--20 percent less than in 2005--make their living from agriculture.
While the number of farmers who manage less than 1 hectare of farmland declined by 20 percent from 2010 in all prefectures except Hokkaido, Japan's most northerly prefecture, the number of farmers who manage 10 or more hectares of land rose by more than 20 percent during the same period.
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